Public input to shape Saskatchewan’s new drainage regulations
By Brandi Cowen
Nov. 13, 2014, Regina – The results of online consultations will help shape new agricultural drainage regulations in Saskatchewan.
The results, which were released on Nov. 13, were announced by the minister responsible for the province’s Water Security Agency, Scott Moe.
“This was the most comprehensive public consultation on drainage policy ever undertaken in Saskatchewan,” Moe said. “Our government appreciates the advice and information received during the online forum. This feedback will be critical to developing new regulations and policies on agricultural drainage.”
In 2012, the Water Security Agency released the province’s 25 Year Water Security Plan. A key component of the 25 year plan was a commitment to addressing the challenges posed by unauthorized agricultural drainage.
Managed by Insightrix Research of Saskatoon, the online forum was conducted between Oct. 2013 and April 2014, and attracted nearly 500 participants who discussed various options for managing drainage.
The online public consultation contained three activities:
- The development of an online community for stakeholders to contribute their thoughts on specific issues surrounding agricultural drainage;
- A telephone and online survey of stakeholders to measure support of various policy options; and
- In-person meetings between online community members and WSA representatives.
Forum participants agreed that drainage provides many benefits to agricultural producers, but that the negative impacts of drainage must be mitigated. Also, forum participants supported implementing regulations that are risk-based; those drainage activities of a larger scale, which pose a greater risk to land and property would require more stringent regulations.
The full report is now available online.
“Developing new drainage regulations is a priority for our government,” said Moe. “We look forward to ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders as we move to update and improve drainage regulations that have been in place in Saskatchewan since the 1980s.”
The provincial government committed to carrying out further consultations with agricultural, environmental, and municipal stakeholders in last month’s Speech from the Throne. Those consultations will take place over the coming months.